Francistown, Botswana

July 13, 2008 - Francistown, Botswana

Arrived at Francistown on the Monday 7th after taking the 5 hour bus journey from Maun where we passed through the foot and mouth dip about 20 k's into the ride. Had to evacuate the bus at this point and get our bags checked by the local police and put all our footwear though a dip as the Okavango has a foot and mouth issue which they are trying to keep under control. Unfortunately when it's not just the livestock but the elephants and big cats that have it, it's not to easy an issue to sort! Francistown is a small lively place, located north-east of Gabs, is a great pit stop location with it's abundance of road side stalls selling all manor of objects from sun glasses to wooden status and of course lots of food. The heart of the town seems to be based around the bus station and the amazingly named street of 'Blue Jacket Street' which has more phone and takeaway shops that a care to count. I booked myself into the Grand Lodge, which is meant to be the cheapest pace in town, but with rooms costing 297 Pula (about 25 pounds) I hate to think how much the expensive places are! Took a look around the town and was quickly shown where the Mall was by a couple of local kids who wanted me to find them an English girl to marry.

Did very little on the Tuesday apart from heading back to the Mall, where I discovered that clothes back in England are actually cheaper than in Botswana! On Wednesday checked out of Lodge at about 10am and had 11 hours to kill before the night train to Gabs set off. Left bags at Lodge and took another stroll around the town, got chatting to some Zimbabweans who were running from the Maxis system in the home country. Got train ticket from very crowed station and bored night train after working out numbering system on ticket. The night train costs more than the day train at about 5 pounds but it's cheaper to travel on the train at night than it is to pay for proper accommodation. My journey to Gabs was on board this old diesel train that probably didn't go above 5 miles an hour but it was a great nights sleep. I went for a second class ticket which meant I shared my cabin with another chap.

I arrived at Gabs at around 6am on Thursday 10th. Got taxi to Brackendale Lodge and headed straight to bed for a few more hours kip. Was up at 10am and headed out to Mall for some food and a few supplies and met a couple of Botswana girls that took a bit of a liking to me. By the time I had got back from shopping I had 15 missed calls from one of them, so decided she may be a little bit of a psycho! On Friday got a series of Mini Bus taxis to a large Mall on the outskirts of town as I needed to purchase a new torch, ready for my camping at the Rhino Sanctuary. Think I may have damaged my foot with all the working.

On Saturday foot still in pain and a little worried about how I'm going to do the project. Bought some deep heat and pain kills and seems to be numbing the pain a little. today took a look around town but very quite as most people at church. Foot still in pain and seems to be getting worse!


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